01. Falling Dream
02. Glassy Essence
05. Stranger Than Fiction
07. December 20th
[Mystic Productions | 11/16/09]
For those who have never heard of them, Votum are a Polish progressive rock/metal band with a sound similar to classic progressive metal like Queensrÿche while taking some ques from modern progressive bands like Dream Theater, Opeth, and Porcupine Tree. Metafiction, the band’s sophomore release, came out late 2009 and went largely un-noticed, for the most part. After listening to the album based on the recommendation, it’s not too hard to imagine why.
Metafiction is a slow-burning album, taking a very mellow and spacey approach to songwriting. The bulk of the album contains sparse and atmospheric guitar work and keyboard soundscapes coupled with classic metal clean vocal style that is, at times, somewhat moving in its melancholic tone. Every now and then, though, the songs explode into climax with heavier riffs hiding in scattered locations. “Glassy Essence” opens with a heavier riff which leads into a groovy rhythm reminiscent of Dream Theater’s approach at riffing before going back to business as usual.
The closing track, “December 20th” has the catchiest riffs found on the whole album, featuring well-crafted verses with a dominant bassline and guitar and key interplay. “Stranger Than Fiction” is the most stand-out track on the album as it is by far the heaviest, being the only song with screamed vocals appearing. It’s a shame that these moments don’t happen as often, as they are a break from some of the monotony that can take place on Metafiction. While the band excels at building up a nice atmosphere, it’s nice when this atmosphere builds up to some sort of climax.
The vocal work from Maciej Kosinski is technically great with an excellent vocal tone, but he doesn’t explore much of a range. While he is suitable for this band, in music like this you kind of hope the vocalist can hit a higher register for added impact on the more climactic moments. Kosinski mostly plays it safe in his comfort zone and because of this, his vocal work seems to lack a bit of power and emotion that the music demands. He also doesn’t give out much in terms of vocal hooks and melodies that are very memorable, which could have made this album much better.
Unfortunately, Metafiction is just too samey. I want to love this album, but there are few standout moments with filler stuck between. There aren’t many hooks present here, and while the everything is instrumentally sound, it’s not very memorable in the grand scheme of things, with many of the tracks seeming to blend together. Perhaps a bit more diversity and an improvement in vocal delivery could keep this band from being more than just solid, but for now, they don’t leave much of a lasting impression.
Votum – Metafiction gets…